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Belle Klipsch


joeward
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Took delivery of my Belle Klipsch about three weeks ago. After getting some listening time in I've finally discovered what everyone means when they can really hear the difference in the way a source was recorded. I've had many Klipsch speakers but these are the first ones I've had where good recordings sound magnificent and bad ones are pretty much unlistenable. But all and all I love these things. Running them with just a solid state McIntosh MA 6100 integrated. Plenty of power for them. I'm a happy camper.

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4 hours ago, joeward said:

Took delivery of my Belle Klipsch about three weeks ago. After getting some listening time in I've finally discovered what everyone means when they can really hear the difference in the way a source was recorded. I've had many Klipsch speakers but these are the first ones I've had where good recordings sound magnificent and bad ones are pretty much unlistenable. But all and all I love these things. Running them with just a solid state McIntosh MA 6100 integrated. Plenty of power for them. I'm a happy camper.

another happy forum member , Welcome to the klipsch Forum

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@joeward, definitely enjoy the Belles for now, but when you get the motivation to do some tinkering…go bi/tri/amp and active with the crossover. It was a steep learning curve for a non-tech minded person like myself, but getting them even close to dialed in made them sound so much better than they did with passive alone. I thought the bass was non existent and midrange had some nasty sounding areas. They just sounded very boxy and distorted. The active crossover really improved all of this. In the end I did sell them as I just liked the simplicity of preamp and monoblocks on my chorus II. And my old McIntosh tube preamp does not match with the ss amp I was using on the bass bins and I just can’t give up that preamp.  But boy the Belles are much better to look at than my Chorus. 

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Yes Madman1, that would be a pretty steep learning curve for me also since I really have no clue about bi/tri/amp active crossovers. Guess I'll have to study about them. These presently have the Crites upgraded crossovers and I have the originals also. They sound really good to me in the mids but I don't really like music blasted at high volume so I probably don't hear the harshness some speak of with the original midrange horn. Bass is full and clean on these......I kind of have them stuffed into corners which may reinforce the bass some. Thanks for giving me some new possibilities to look into.

 

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It is the way I mostly use my 1977 Lascalas, not too loud and with a passive AA xover. I like it and going active/DSP is in my view not only a step ahead. There may be downsides as well e.g. less „soul“ than passive. At least I like like my Jubes passive very much even if I cannot make use of delay compensation etc which I also have used.

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6 hours ago, joeward said:

Yes Madman1, that would be a pretty steep learning curve for me also since I really have no clue about bi/tri/amp active crossovers. Guess I'll have to study about them. These presently have the Crites upgraded crossovers and I have the originals also. They sound really good to me in the mids but I don't really like music blasted at high volume so I probably don't hear the harshness some speak of with the original midrange horn. Bass is full and clean on these......I kind of have them stuffed into corners which may reinforce the bass some. Thanks for giving me some new possibilities to look into.

 

Do your Belles have k55v or k55m…

aa or ab crossovers?

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I, too, own a pair Belles.  All stock.  My satisfaction with the sound is at about a B-.  Some things they do very nicely, somethings not so much.  My question is how much the electronic components - amps, preamps, crossovers - effect the sound quality as opposed to the mechanical components of the speakers themselves - drivers, horns, etc.  I ask this because I am running the Belles on some fairly mid-range, simple electronics (really, electronic singular).  I power the speakers with an older NAD integrated amp and run an NAD CD player through them.  The former is probably 25 years old and he latter about 6.  I have no illusions that NAD is not top of top of the line gear, but it's specs at the time I got them were more than acceptable.   However, I'm not sure that I'm giving the Belles a fair shot by running them with this gear as I know they really like tube amplification.   And I am suspicious of the 40 year old crossovers that look like they came out of a WWII submarine.  

 

The problem with my Klipschs is that you get the feeling that the sound could be so much better than what is coming out them.  I'm just not sure what to do to help them.  My secret guess is that the only thing worth not replacing is the woofers.  High end and mid-rang can sound harsh with stock components on older stock Klipschs have always sounded a bit that way to me.  Have no idea what, if anything, the stock crossovers contribute to the harshness.  

 

Thanks.  All that said, when they're good, they are very good. 

 

 

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23 hours ago, Domenic said:

I, too, own a pair Belles.  All stock.  My satisfaction with the sound is at about a B-.  Some things they do very nicely, somethings not so much.  My question is how much the electronic components - amps, preamps, crossovers - effect the sound quality as opposed to the mechanical components of the speakers themselves - drivers, horns, etc.  I ask this because I am running the Belles on some fairly mid-range, simple electronics (really, electronic singular).  I power the speakers with an older NAD integrated amp and run an NAD CD player through them.  The former is probably 25 years old and he latter about 6.  I have no illusions that NAD is not top of top of the line gear, but it's specs at the time I got them were more than acceptable.   However, I'm not sure that I'm giving the Belles a fair shot by running them with this gear as I know they really like tube amplification.   And I am suspicious of the 40 year old crossovers that look like they came out of a WWII submarine.  

 

The problem with my Klipschs is that you get the feeling that the sound could be so much better than what is coming out them.  I'm just not sure what to do to help them.  My secret guess is that the only thing worth not replacing is the woofers.  High end and mid-rang can sound harsh with stock components on older stock Klipschs have always sounded a bit that way to me.  Have no idea what, if anything, the stock crossovers contribute to the harshness.  

 

Thanks.  All that said, when they're good, they are very good. 

 

 

 

welcome to the forum!

 

if you have 40 year old speakers and the capacitors have never been changed, then it's probably time to do so.  new capacitors will most likely improve the sound.

 

the rest of the crossover should be fine and nothing to worry about.

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Thanks for the welcome, jcn3.  Been stopping in for a  while, thought I might as well join.  Seems like a good and knowledgeable group. 

 

Really, just the capacitors are going to be questionable?  That's great news.  I'm pretty illiterate with electronics so when I look at the crossovers (AAs) they look prehistoric.  But I'll certainly take your word for it.   Would changing out the capacitors be something  a careful novice could do?  And how would I go about figuring out what capacitor to replace them with.

 

Also, I presume that I can take the crossovers to a tech and have him/her test the whole thing.  Does that make sense?  

 

Thanks.

 

 

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The other components of the xover have virtually no wear. On the contrary, sometimes old coils and autoformers sound better than new ones. And also for coils applies that the original values of the ESR with spare parts may or may not be achieved. That's why I would leave these parts as they are.
The capacitors should be replaced after the long time, because probably the oil has leaked out of the tin cans by now. However, with new replacements you are on the safe side.
I usually tend to go for smart and effective economical solutions. That's why I would order polyester caps from Mouser for a handful of dollars. These are the types that Klipsch recommends and also installs themselves in the latest Heritage speakers. You have to see photos of e.g. Heresy 4 or CW 4 crossovers that you can find on the net. They are these yellow capacitors. They are not the "best" available today but they are the best fit for the horn speakers...especially from the time of your vintage speakers.

But there is an issue. If you want to do it right you need the right values of capacitance. The AA crossover has three capacitors which are unfortunately not standard values. You can't get them at Mouser or other dealers like Parts Express, that I know of. 
Of course you can try to find these capacitance values there. You need 1x13 mF and 2x2 mF per xover.

There is one dealer that offers these values for polyester types. JEM.
https://jemperformanceaudio.com/

I didn't do it because the shipping and customs costs to Germany is totally absurd. But within the USA you can get the correct values in total for both crossovers for under 100 dollars. You might think, oh that's expensive for stupid polyester caps (or they're also called Mylar). But one should not forget that JEM has to have these special values specially made by some manufacturer.

 

I took 2x2.2 mF (to test these types in principle) and 2x6.8 mF in parallel instead of 1x13.  Unfortunately I change the ESR by the parallel connection but as a first compromise it is ok. 1x13 mF is however better because also the tweeter capacitors 2x2 mF are connected in series behind the 1x13 mF and thus depend on its properties.

I personally would not use polypropylene caps. Because what could sound "clearer" and "cleaner" in modern normal Hifiboxes without horns can make your horns sound harsh and shrill. I have tried it.

 

If you can solder...it's not witchcraft...or, everyone knows a buddy who can solder and it's really not a requirement because everything is big and simple...like in a WW2 submarine:).

 

 

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Domenic, another thought. I wrote it the other day in another thread for jcn3. Between the K55V midrange driver and the horn is a rubber flat ring. You can see it when you unscrew the driver. It should be porous and hardened by now. But it is an important seal for the sound pressure from the driver to get into the throat of the horn. This can be a source of harsh sound. Michael Crites sells these rubber rings for small money. Also the diaphragms of the K55V should be changed after 40 years. In my case this was very successful. You can also get them at Crites.
But I must also say that the AA crossover sounds very good at small to medium loud levels. If you listen very very loud the speaker can sound a bit metallic despite all the restorations. But how often do you listen that loud?

 

The photo shows an original rubber ring of my 1977 Lascala in red. It had already crumbled into two parts during disassembly.
The black ring was a temporary solution I had cut myself before the new rings arrived from Michael Crites.

 

A321B819-FE90-4A82-9E9F-193CC884C8F3.png

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@domenic, yep everything has effect on the sound, I thought my Dynaco st-35 sounded better than my mc30s with my Belles. When I switched my ab crossovers out for alk super aa that was an improvement too. Then finally went electronic crossover which was the biggest improvement but with the biggest learning curve. Alk offers a trade in if you send him your aa. The Belle is limited by the k-500, sounds better with k-400 and even better with the volti horn, but obviously doesn’t fit in the Belle hf section. Some guys recommend going 2-way, I’ve never personally heard any .

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It's great to hear from new Belle owners. I, too, recently acquired a pair of Belles-haven't even connected them yet. So, hello Joe Ward and Domenic. I hope you'll keep posting. Please share your experiences and impressions. 

Thanks!

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